NY company buys borough manufacturer

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NAUGATUCK — Gar Kenyon, a manufacturer of components used in pneumatic systems in the aircraft industry, has been acquired by the Loar Group, a New York-based diversified manufacturer for the aerospace and defense industries, Loar announced Monday.

The financial terms of the deal, which closed Monday, were not disclosed.

Gar Kenyon, based at 238 Water St., designs and makes valves, manifolds and actuators for landing gear, flight controls, engine and fuel controls and other hydraulic and pneumatic systems for the commercial aerospace, business jet, general aviation and defense markets, the Loar Group said in a news release. More than 95 percent of Gar Kenyon’s revenues are from proprietary products, and its clients include Gulfstream, Learjet, Cessna, Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Department of Defense.

The business will continue to operate as Gar Kenyon, the business name for SAF Industries LLC, Loar said.

Gar Kenyon employs 30 workers in its 44,000-square-foot facility on Water Street, said Steven Fournier, the company’s former chairman and CEO who became a consultant for the Loar Group when the deal closed.

Fournier said he does not know how the transaction may affect Gar Kenyon’s employee count.

“My understanding from the Loar Group is they plan to dramatically grow the company,” he said, adding he also did not know how other executive positions would be affected.

He said Loar Group CEO Dirkson Charles “will make all decisions going forward.”

“The combination of Loar’s aerospace experience, entrepreneurial spirit, and resources with Gar Kenyon’s deep experience in hydraulic, pneumatic and electromechanical components will result in a stronger enterprise that is better positioned to serve our customers,” Charles said in a statement.

The Loar Group is an affiliate of JLL Partners Inc., a middle-market private equity firm founded in 1988.

Gar Kenyon was established in Brewster, N.Y., in the early 1950s as Gar Precision Products, and changed its name to Gar Kenyon a few years later after merging with Kenyon Instruments. The company was acquired by New Haven Manufacturing Co. in the 1970s.

New Haven Manufacturing entered bankruptcy in the mid-1990s and was bought out of bankruptcy by Waterbury native Robert Matthews, head of Matthews Ventures Holdings of New Haven, in 1997.

Fournier, a certified public accountant who was then president and chief operating officer of Matthews Ventures Holdings, acquired Gar Kenyon from Matthews, his employer, in 2003. He then closed on the Gar Kenyon acquisition and the purchase of the former Lewis Engineering building on Water Street in one day, and moved his new company into that building.